Ever wondered what separates your business from the big leagues?
Want to get your product featured next to all the biggest brands at your neighbourhood retailer? Want retailers around the world to know about your product through an exclusive database?
To take your company to the top it is absolutely essential to understand and implement the guidelines highlighted under International Featured Standards or IFS certification and get certified. After familiarizing yourself with the standard guidelines a suitable certification body for your area should be identified. After finding the best certification body, details of your product, process and audit schedule would be communicated.
“What makes Global Quality Services a leading specialist in this area is not only the exhaustive list of highly experienced and qualified professionals but also a rigorous focus on quality and efficiency”
In 2003, Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) and Federation des enterprises du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD) came up with the first version of the IFS Food standard in order to verify the quality suppliers producing products for retail with the emphasis to assure safety, quality, transparency and legal compliance. It reduces overall costs as well as keep companies in the loop with detailed reports and databases. The IFS standards are uniform global safety and quality standards that cover a variety of industries related to food or otherwise. The Global Food Safety Initiative recognizes and recommends the IFS Food Standard.
The IFS Food Safety standard version 8 draft has been proposed recently with the revision of several parts. The IFS Food Standard can be broadly divided into:
- Part 1: IFS Food Certification Protocol
- Part 2: List of IFS Food Audit requirement
- Part 3: Requirements if accreditation bodies, certification bodies and auditors
- Part 4: Reporting, Audit Manager software and IFS Database
These standards are reviewed by the IFS Technical Team and associated working groups annually. An audit focuses on the following points:
- A representative sample of products is considered to be audited for customer specification compliance as well as legal compliance to ensure safety and quality. It also includes on-site evaluation, operating process evaluation as well as a comprehensive documentation and record review.
- Auditor qualification and expertise related to a specific product is crucial to guarantee quality
- The production site is subject to a comprehensive IFS food audit every year against the full IFS Food Audit checklist and corrections made since the last audit.
In order to undertake an audit, the company needs to appoint IFS approved Certification body accredited to ISO/IEC 17065:2021 norm following which details regarding the products and processes involved must be shared. The language of the audit is carried out in the language of the specific production site. The types of audits are:
- Initial audit
- Recertification audit
- Extension audit
The IFS website hosts a calculator tool to calculate the minimum audit duration to be performed based on total number of employees, number of product scopes, number of processing steps. The scores can be A (Full compliance: 20 points), B (Small part of the requirement with no safety or legal issues is not implemented: 15 points), C (Part of the requirement is not implemented: 5 points), D (The requirement is not implemented: -20 points) as well as major non-conformities. The requirements which are not applicable are not included in the calculation of total score. There are 10 essential KO requirements:
- Governance and commitment
- Monitoring system of each CCP
- Personal hygiene
- Customer agreement
- Raw material specification
- Foreign material risk mitigation
- Internal audits
- Procedures of withdrawal, recalls and incidents
- Corrective actions
Total number of points= Total number of IFS Food requirement points-requirements evaluated as not applicable *twenty (20)
The new version 8 drafts aims to reassign some requirements to stay closer to the audit trail, update the scoring methodology, reduce the size of the IFS Food Doctrine and implement new reporting software.
We understand that keeping up with such rigorous checks and compliances can be very demanding for any company and we are here to help. To better understand the details regarding the audit as well as other processes involved remember to get in touch with us.
As experienced specialists Global Quality Services can ensure a highly efficient certification process.
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